My husband, Ron, and I recently purchased an old family farm which had been neglected for many years. We enjoy witnessing the revival of this place as we plot and plan the next phase of renovation. This property has a pond near its center which had become overgrown with shrubs and trees. This made it difficult for our horses to get water, so Ron, his dad and my son worked hard moving earth and clearing the property.
My attention was drawn to a tree growing right next to the pond. What sprouted up as two small trees have grown into one large base with two very distinct trunks. With all of the moving and shaking of the earth, many trees did not make it through the dry, summer months – but this tree did! It survived because it was “planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by the long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8, NLT) In Jeremiah 17:7, the Lord says, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” These trusting, believing people are like trees planted along a riverbank. God continually supplies them with thirst-quenching hope.
There were many in Jesus’ day who said they believed, but it took witnessing His power many times to turn their belief into faith. Consider Peter in Matthew 14:22-36. Jesus had just miraculously fed 5,000+ people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes when a boat the disciples were traveling in was threatened by a howling storm. As they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat they thought he was a ghost. Jesus called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” Peter then said, “Lord, if it is you, let me come to you walking on the water.” Peter did walk on the water, but we sometimes give him a hard time because he got scared and began to sink. We overlook the fact that he actually stepped out of the boat in faith. He had just witnessed Jesus perform a miracle that helped turn his belief into faith and, because he had the guts to step out of the boat, he walked on water. He really walked on water! Jesus is still saying, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” Do we have the courage to turn our belief into real faith? Do we believe God can help us turn away from the things that keep us enslaved?
I believe and trust God because I have witnessed His hand in my life over and over again. He has turned my sadness into joy, evil into good and allowed me to do things only His power working in me could accomplish. He hasn’t just given me a second chance; He has given me hundreds of chances each and every time I mess up. I can trust Him because I know He is with me, He loves me and His plan insures my home in heaven. He sent His son to earth so I could believe in someone who was flesh and blood – someone who understands what it’s like to be human. It is this trust that transforms mere belief into true faith. He has shown me His power and He has set me free from my sins.
Belief lays the foundation for faith and becomes the critical first step. However, belief soaked in trust becomes faith. It’s that deep faith which allows us to completely trust that God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.Is there anything keeping you from trusting God and turning your belief into real faith? The life-giving stream of God’s words can wash your doubts away. His power can conquer your fears and give you the freedom to place all your cares into His strong hands. Are you willing to step out of the boat?